My favorite thing about taking a vacation is the intimacy shared with spouse and family that one can barely experience during busy work days. My second favorite thing about vacation is the people we meet.
While traveling through San Diego last month we walked through a park. Sitting at one of the tables was a gentleman with a very healthy bronze smiling face, wearing a green jacket, blue hat and a long white beard with longer strands beginning at each side of his chin. Beside him sat a high pile of books, in front of him was a writing tablet and in his hand he held a pen. We said good morning and stopped to talk.
We learnt that Regal not only enjoyed reading but also really enjoyed writing. He showed us some of his very interesting articles that he had written, about life, major stories from years ago, faith, and a long list of other topics. We also complimented him on his most beautiful handwriting. Being a nurse and working with physicians, I often see handwriting that looks like barbed wire around a prison wall. One time I heard a nurse say “just look at his writing, I wonder how he ever got through school!”
We spent approximately an hour with Regal, and after our friendly chat we found we had several things in common; he really believed that God had a plan for his life, he believed in the Edenic diet, (he had a vegan meal sitting on the table) and he also believed in searching for truth. One of the desires of his heart, is to one day, by God’s grace, own a publishing company. He told us he had begun collecting information in reference to this hope.
As we said goodbye to Regal and gave him some granola bars, and some beautiful booklets to read, we asked if we could write him a letter to say hello when our vacation was over. He readily agreed, and in his beautiful handwriting gave us his information. And yes, we kept our promise and two weeks ago sent him a letter. This past weekend we received nineteen 8×10 pages in response! What an author! A new friend indeed!
Sharing from Regal’s letter: pg 6 “When I discovered that I could never discover truth while sitting in a comfortable apartment with a remote control in my hand while munchin’ on a pizza, some potato chips, and drinking a soda as I watch re-runs of The Beverly Hillbillies, The Andy Griffith Show (Mayberry), Little House On The Prairie, Highway To Heaven, Touched By An Angel, and 60 Minutes, on television; no, truth does not come so easily – not at all. I had to get out into the rough and rut of human existence… that I might experience the rock-bottom, the sub-culture and the sub-human lifestyle that has taught me to this very day how to survive… I have learned from experience the hard way that the pure essence of truth does not come easy and is not readily found like sand on a beach, like rocks in a canyon, or like trees in a forest. The discovery of truth is labor intensive and an arduous task…”
Regal might have felt some doubt that he would ever hear from us, and we can understand, after hearing the famous words “we’ll call you” or “we’ll write you” ourselves, so often. In his letter he wrote: pg 2 “I thank you so very much for taking the time to write to me as promised. Now I know assuredly that your spoken words are true and dependable. (Today I believe in you. Thanks again.)”
This morning I thought about our new friend while reading some Bible texts from Job 14:7-9: For there is hope for a tree if it is cut down, that it will sprout again. And that it’s tender shoots will not cease. Though it’s roots may grow old in the earth, and it’s stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant.
John 4:11-14: The woman said to Him…where then do You get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob…? Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life.”